TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

Local News

November 14, 2011

Package liquor sales may be ready soon

By Carl Keith Greene  Staff Writer

Referendums in London and Corbin on package alcohol sales appear to be coming up in the next few months.

Petitions for alcohol stores in London have already garnered more than the 516-plus signatures necessary for an election.

Petitions in Corbin have recently been issued by way of a newspaper advertisement.

The Corbin Citizens for Economic Project is supporting the move with Kurt Kraus as chairman and Mario Cima as treasurer.

A committee of three in London, Bryan McCarty, Bill Meadors and Hunter Payne, began the petitions by seeking signatures on the petition pages, then, McCarty said, they began sending requests through the mail to registered voters in London and asking them to return them through the mail.

The petition was started about two months ago, said McCarty.

The committee had six months from the date of the first signature to the time that the petitions must be turned in to Dean Johnson, county clerk.

He and David Westerfield, county judge/executive, will be involved together in the process of verifying the signatures of those who are registered voters in the city precincts.

The number of signatures required for the election is 516 and by Thursday there were about 540, he said.

“We’d like to get a buffer of about a hundred so if something happens, for some reason or other, that some of the signatures are kicked out, whether they be illegible or whatever, so we have enough to cover,” McCarty explained.

If the county clerk puts a line through enough names to drop the signatures to below 516, after the petitions are turned in, the petition will be nulled.

“We have four more months. We got 540 in two months. We’re going to lay back and let them come in. Once we turn these in, Dean has between 60 and 90 days to verify them and set the date for an election,” he said.

Based on the city’s population, the Kentucky Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) department will determine how many liquor stores will be allowed in the city.

Beer will be available in grocery stores and other similar shops that qualify for a license, he said.

For each 2,300 people in the city’s population one liquor/wine store license can be issued.

With London’s population of about 7,400, the city  will get about four of the stores, he said.

“ABC said they have been known to give one extra,” McCarty said.

Persons or companies who wish to establish one of those stores, they will have to provide a request to the city. The city will look at the request and “at that point they turn them over to ABC, which makes the final decision.”

He noted that liquor stores in Richmond are already feeling the loss because of stores in Manchester that can currently sell beer after places to sell beer opened following it’s referendum for liquor sales.

McCarty said he, Payne and Meadors, “had a little bit of hesitation to begin with about how we were going to be accepted. And I can honestly say that we have, for the most part, been welcomed with open arms of people that are open-minded, not only people that drink that want alcohol sales, but people who don’t drink. I had one lady that signed it that said, ‘I’ll probably vote no on the petition because I feel that the people of London have the right to vote.’ We had very few people that had made derogatory remarks. It’s turned out a lot better than we thought.”

The group has also formed a committee called Y.E.S.

The people in Elizabethtown and Danville had also formed such a committee when their towns voted on the alcohol issue and they asked the group in London to be an extension of it.

The Y.E.S. stands for Yes for Economic Success.

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